Category Archives: Uncategorized

Day 4: God this is tough

Another morning coffee avoided. Another morning of weird breakfast because I forgot about my overnight oats. Dragging a reluctant six year old around Tesco trying to work out which aisle the bloody tins of chickpeas live in was a low point. But I’m hanging on in there.

I think, given my conversation with the farmer yesterday, the only reason I’m continuing with this challenge is for re-education purposes. I’ve gotten into bad habits and I want to reset. I’m enjoying eating lots of fruit and veg, particularly cucumber and carrot sticks, I’m feeling the benefit of not drinking coffee four times a day and I’m relishing the challenge of creating tasty evening meals using new ingredients. I mean, I had never bought tofu before this week.

Today I also bought quorn. I figured if I enjoyed my stir fry that much, I should just repeat that meal with other meat substitutes. These are the habits which are likely to stick. I cannot wait to use milk again and I am definitely going to bake myself a camembert when this challenge is over. Mmmmmmmm camembert…

Oh. I’ve just checked the label and Quorn contains egg whites. Crap.

Well, dinner was delicious. More stir fried tofu, this time with spring onions, beansprouts, carrots and courgettes.

tofu stirfry

Today’s menu

Breakfast: Tin of mandarins, fresh orange juice

Snack: Cucumber and carrot sticks, red pepper humous, water

Lunch: Vegetable soup, a banana, water

Snack: I didn’t have time for a snack today

Dinner: Stir fried tofu, spring onion, courgette, carrot, beansprouts, rice, Prosecco (don’t worry, I checked, no animal products were used)

 

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Vegan Challenge Day 2: eyeing the ice cream

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 19.57.16If ever my resolve were to crumble, it would be right here.

Next to this freezer of fun was a mouthwatering selection of cakes and the seductive aroma of coffee. Not only did I resist all these temptations, I bought four ice creams for four small children and didn’t lick a single one.

My peppermint tea was actually amazing – so flavourful – and I experienced a small moment of smugness as I realised the level of willpower I had just displayed. For naturally, as soon as I was away from the dairy goodness and outside in the fresh air, I no longer craved it.

Two very good things happened today, foodwise. One, I realised I could eat the bag of Walkers Ready Salted offered to me after my vegetable soup, but the other was a game changer at the end of a very tiring day with my two darling, but temporarily possessed, sons.

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Now, I realise one of my goals this week was to avoid alcohol, but in my defence, I did. I avoided the Freixenet Rose my lovely mum had brought me at the weekend, because Mr Barnivore (see above) informed me they use “fining matters of animal origin”. As I was having the internal dialogue of whether this counts, I spotted the Corona bottles and saved myself the moral dilemma. In for a penny, in for a pound.

It’s 8pm and I am a little bit hungry – but I think I’ll have a banana and be fine. I’m quite chuffed with myself for not falling off the wagon yet. Or going to Starbucks for a caramel machiatto and a cinnamon swirl. It’s the challenge that keeps on giving…

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Today’s menu:

Breakfast: overnight oats with almond milk and half a tin of peaches; water (I had a headache)

Snack: Carrot and cucumber sticks in the car en route to our day out

Lunch: Homemade vegetable soup (totally delicious, I surprise myself sometimes), half a packet of Walkers Ready salted (the other half was stolen by a small child), water

Snack: Peppermint tea, walnuts, raisins, banana

Dinner: Lentil and vegetable bake – made with passata, sweet potato, onion, celery, red pepper, carrots and peas (for colour, it was so orange.); a pint of Ribena.

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Playroom renovation COMPLETE!

A year ago today – exactly – we moved to Edinburgh. To mark this anniversary, we can FINALLY say our house is finished! The boys have a new playroom and we have a whole new room in our house.

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I am SO EXCITED about picking up the Wee Man from school – he’s going to burst. Then we’ll have the best job ever of filling it with toys!

It’s been a fun journey – here it is in pictures.

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So my top tips based on our renovation?

  • Get good tradesmen and pay them promptly – the plumber must have been back and forth five or six times, but he was always very obliging because I transferred the money for his bill the same day each time.
  • Take advice even though you had a pretty fixed idea in your head
  • Shop around online – I ordered the staircase myself and saved hundreds of pounds. Of course, I didn’t tell the joiner until after he’d put it all together. He actually said: “You’ve just risen in my estimations”
  • Make lots and lots of tea and coffee and always buy the good biscuits
  • Make “how could I save a bit of money on that?” your default phrase – even when you’re in CarpetRight and everyone’s listening and the assistant is getting more and more pissed off as their commission shrinks before their eyes
  • If you don’t understand what your tradesman’s on about, say you’ll get back to him and Google it. I had to tell the painter about PVA for sealing brickwork – he thought I’d have to buy a specialist substance at £50 per tub.
  • Use PVA for sealing brickwork
  • Make sure your plasterer wears safety goggles – mine didn’t, even though he was doing ceilings, and had to go to the eye hospital leaving shite all over the place for two extra days
  • Humour people. No matter who you have in, they should have been in before the last guy. Just agree and offer more biscuits.
  • Offer lots of praise and then swiftly remove it when they’re not up to scratch – I’ve found it makes them much more eager to please. Yes I know this is coldly calculating.
  • Order wallpaper online. Never buy it from a shop. Ever.
  • Be prepared to get involved if it keeps everything on schedule. I was painting skirtings the night before the carpets came.
  • Locks. Put locks on as many doors as you can, especially if you have young, curious trouble-making children.
  • Be super nice to your neighbours throughout.
  • Make sure there is a spare key with a neighbour at all times.
  • Save everyone’s mobile number into your phone. Seems simple, but honestly saves your sanity.
  • Don’t let your husband do a dump run in the middle of any renovation, ever.
  • Take photos of every stage
  • Have fun with it – it can be a huge pain in the arse but it’s so worth it!

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Mummy martyrdom and the wonderful day

It was the apologetic post about being a “Smug and Judgemental Mother of Girls” that made me fall in love a little bit.

I’ve been reading the Facebook updates from Peter and Jane for a few weeks now and I’m convinced the author and I would be best friends. From her “Fuck It All Friday” to her mentions of the “bastarding summer holidays”, she pretty much nails it every day as far as mother martyrdom goes.

And yet.

After I’ve snorted and chortled and liked and commented, I can’t help but hope her children don’t read what she writes. My mum always said the first day of the summer holidays were her favourite and she was really sad when we all went back in August. She has come out with things like “I never wanted you girls to go to the kids clubs on holidays – I wanted to spend the time with you” and she will sob every time my sister goes home to London. I quite like it.

family pic

My family ❤

So either she’s an excellent liar or my sisters and I were angel children or she really did – and does – enjoy hanging out with us. I also suspect, not that I’d ever tell her, that life was a little bit simpler 30 years ago. No mobile phones, more community spirit, less financial pressure and so on.

I have three separate friends who’ve used the line “to save our marriage” over the last few months. These are solid couples – they’re just parents of small children. The lack of sleep, the endless noise, the relentless pace, the MESS will wear down even the most devoted childhood sweethearts. We LOVE to read bloggers who voice our innermost rantings because it reassures us it’s normal to find it all so difficult.

But I think we need to keep it in perspective.

Today, for example, was a wonderful day. It really was.

mummykimmy rucksack

Rod took the Wee Man off on An Adventure. They packed a rucksack full of gluten-free sandwiches and marched off into the Pentlands. KD and I tidied the house then met a friend for a very civilised Morningside brunch. He slept for an hour afterwards, allowing me to weed the driveway jungle, and when the adventurers returned, exhausted, we had a lovely quiet half hour playing with Play Doh.

It wasn’t even three o’clock so we casually got into the car and headed west, kind of maybe looking for an ice cream shop, but actually finding a National Trust garden which we had to ourselves. I took my shoes off, walked in the spongy grass and thought “Gosh this is nice. We’re all quite chilled out.” That is not a feeling I am overly familiar with.

mummykimmy garden

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We had dinner all together – an awesome recipe I’ll share at the end of the post because it’s such a sneaky way to get veg into your children – and the bath and bedtime routine was a bearable decibel level. So here I am and Rod’s gone off for a swim and actually, life’s not too bad.

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Recipe for hidden veg pasta:

Fry a diced onion in olive oil. Add a squidge of garlic paste.Throw in a small diced courgette, four or five broccoli heads that have already been steamed, half a red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped), a few chopped up sticks of celery and half a chopped red pepper. Once they’re soft, squidge in some tomato paste and then a tin of chopped tomatoes. Mix well then put the lid on and leave it over a low heat for a few minutes. Meanwhile, boil your chosen pasta (gluten-free in our house). When the veg mix is ready transfer it into a plastic bowl and blitz it with a hand-held blender or, if you’re fancy, put it in the food processor. Mix it into your drained pasta that you’ve put back into the pot then throw in a handful of spinach. It takes about two minutes to cook. Transfer to whichever plastic plate the child insists upon then drop some tomberries (ickle tiny tomatoes I found in Sainsbury’s) and shredded ham hock (again, packet from Sainsbo’s) on top to make it look cool. Voila.

 

 

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Sleep Training Live: Night 5

(Catch up on Night 1, Night 2, Night 3 and Night 4)

Sleepy time

I hit a wall. I was suddenly bone tired. Even Lucas had been testing me today, desperate to veer off and do the jumps instead of concentrate on the flatwork in the field. Rod, bless him, put both boys to bed AND made dinner. I was in bed by 9.50. Rock’n’roll.

12.10

He appeared in our room and I blearily remembered I was supposed to be intercepting him. He put up a small fight – I think it was ten times and the duvet and pillow were the only things he threw. I stopped off in KD’s room to give him a bottle.

12.20

KD started wailing. The wee man got up. More screaming but for a shorter period.

12.40

Up again. I began to lose faith in humanity and wondered if we could sell up and move to a beach. Rod dealt with the Wee Man, I sat with KD.

3ish I think

Rod got up. There was no screaming but I was woken by an icicle climbing in beside me. “I fell asleep on the stool,” he mumbled.

I’m so tired. I’m wondering if I’m getting anywhere with this. I’m also dreading tonight because Rod is away overnight and I have them, solo, all day today. I think I might run to my mum again.

See how I get on here

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Sleep Training Live: Night 1 results

11.10pm

62 times

He got out of his bed 62 times, I counted. He also screamed, shouted NO and whimpered mama – basically using every weapon in his arsenal.

The one tactic I’ve learned over the last few years that really works is divorcing myself from the emotion. So, like an actress assuming a role, I sat on that stool by the door like a mildly curious psychologist. I noted that even though he was chucking his duvet and pillow on the floor, he still climbed back into his bed to scream some more. So he knew he was supposed to stay in there. I suppressed a smile as he rattled the blinds, wrestled with a drawer (trying to pull it all the way out) and aimed a plastic cup at my head. I remained silent. I put him back and put him back and put him back. After the 62nd time he stayed, balanced perilously close to the edge of the bed. Five minutes later he fell out. I put him back. He stayed. The deep breathing began.

I crept out with an enormous smile on my face.

As I climbed back into bed I saw Rod was also grinning. “He only screamed for 15 minutes!” he said.

“I am a Goddess,” I said.

4.15am

He appeared by my bed. I heard him coming because he knocked a glass of water onto the ironing pile. I calmly got up, took him back to bed and he stayed. He didn’t get out once.

6am

He appeared by my bed. “Rod, you’re up,” I muttered, turning over. I didn’t think we’d get any more sleep out of him, but wanted Rod to try. He started to talk to the Wee Man, and I cut him off. “No talking. Back to bed.” Rod was back in beside me within ten minutes. I couldn’t believe it. “Is he asleep?” I asked.

“Yep,” he said triumphantly.

8.30am

I was up and dressed and dealing with KD when the wee monkey appeared, bleary eyed and clutching his teddy. I swept him up in a huge hug and praised him to the rafters. He was an angel all morning and went off to nursery (late) full of the joys of his achievement.

I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

Click here to read night 2

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Sleep training live: night 1 part 2

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We had just switched off the TV. I was putting the last dishes in the dishwasher… Footsteps.

“And so it starts,” I said, as Rod rolled his eyes.

The wee man was standing in the upstairs hall clutching his teddy. I stayed silent, picked him up, placed him in bed and tucked him in. I sat just inside his door on the stool. He turned back and forth in bed and sighed a bit.

I heard something slip to the floor. It was his duvet. He lay still on his bed without it for a while as I debated whether to get up and put it back. Then the deep breathing began. Could it be?

But now what do I do? He’s asleep on a bed without a cover over him. It’s not that hot in here. Do I put it back now and save myself getting back up in an hour when he’s cold? Or do I take the gamble?

I decide to let sleeping dogs lie…

Click here for the night report

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